When I was in college, I took several literature courses. One of the poems we studied – and I say poem rather than Poet – was this one:
Whoso List to Hunt, I Know where is an Hind
Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.
The Professor, Angela Bowering – she was married to Canadian Poet George Bowering at the time – this was before they divorced and he went on to become Poet Laureate of Canada –
Mrs. Bowering said that this poem was about a man who grew older and women didn’t find him as attractive anymore.
I disagreed with her. I said that you cannot separate a poet from his life and times. That this poem was clearly about Anne Boleyn – who Thomas had been dating before Henry married her.
Mrs. Bowering vehemently disagreed, saying that would mean there was a revenge factor.
I remember looking at her and thinking, well Duh. Why shouldn’t he be subject to the same human emotions as everyone else?
Poets don’t have different feelings, we just feel things differently.